Open discussion thread: Ask questions, share opinions

by beth on June 3, 2020

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It’s time for a new open thread. What’s on your mind this week, Southborough?

For those of you new to the blog, the open discussion thread is your place to ask questions, sound off on town issues, or share information with other readers. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Ask questions about programs in town or the town itself
  • Post a note about things that you’re selling or giving away, or things that you want
  • Share notices about upcoming events (Southborough or otherwise)
  • Register your thoughts on town issues or news stories
  • Point out interesting or helpful resources

You can add comments to the thread throughout the week. Check back often to see new comments. (If you read the blog via email or RSS, you might want to check the site from time to time for new comments.)

To view past open discussion threads, click here.

(Photo by SusanFitzgerald)

1 Seath June 3, 2020 at 8:59 PM

Hi first time commenter not so long time follower
My wife and I are new residents of the town and we are very excited to be a part of your community.
I do have a question and wonder if anyone would have the answer to before I reach out to the town departments.
Q1. Do you know if it is required to apply for a permit in order to put a shed in your backyard? I could have swore I saw in the bylaws or the building department webpage that as long as it’s below 120 square feet it did not need a permit but I can’t seem to find where it said that again. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated
Q2. Are there any restrictions beyond the State law to having a fire pit in your backyard?

2 northsider June 4, 2020 at 10:06 AM
3 beth June 4, 2020 at 10:34 AM

You may have seen that under the Building Department’s blog. As I recently posted, the Building Dept began posting information under a “blog” on the Town website. It includes information like the April post on work exempted from permits. It includes:

Except for activities which may require a permit pursuant to other laws, by-laws, rules and the specialized codes of M.G.L. c. 143, § 96, a building permit is not required for the following activities:

1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area is not greater than 120 ft.2 (11 m2).

4 choker... cough, Cough, COUGH June 4, 2020 at 10:39 AM

Yes – what’s the deal with “fire pits”? In the summer, we often like to have our windows open in the evening to allow the cool breeze refresh the house after having been closed up throughout the hot summer day.

Unfortunately, that is often spoiled when our neighbor lights up their fire pit and the smoke blows from there into our home! While it may be nice to sit around the open fire, it’s definitely not so nice to find your home filled with smoke!!!

Who do we call? The Fire Department? The Police Department?

Have a fire in your backyard – keep your smoke away from my home – please!!!

5 Jonas June 4, 2020 at 1:19 PM

Maybe call mother nature to control the winds?

6 Interested June 5, 2020 at 8:52 AM

I agree with this comment. As a person who is allergic to smoke but thoroughly enjoys the cool night air and having my windows open rather than running an air conditioner, I too wish there was a way to divert neighbors’ fire pit smoke from entering my home.
I don’t understand why someone would want to sit around a fire at this time of year. Unfortunately, it is allowed and there is nothing that can be done about it.

7 Longtime Observer June 4, 2020 at 3:17 PM

Does anyone know where the pinwheels and mini-flags that line the rails by the reservoir came from? I am all for displaying the American flag downtown or at some other (marginally) developed place in town, if that’s what the residents and owners of that district want, but I find the Americana trinkets along the water to be ruinous of the beautiful natural vistas that the waterways provide.

8 beth June 4, 2020 at 4:55 PM

I’m assuming that you mean on Middle Road. I haven’t seen them, but another reader mentioned the flags to me. It seems that it wasn’t an authorized action since neither the DPW or Veterans Agent was aware of them.

9 Alan June 4, 2020 at 5:57 PM

The ones I saw were on RT 85 and I think they look just fine.

10 Louise June 10, 2020 at 12:01 PM

I agree, Alan. The American Flag set against the water is nice. God Bless the USA!

11 Interested June 5, 2020 at 8:43 AM

I saw the little flags on rt 85 also. I thought they looked nice.
I do hope that they are removed before they become weathered and faded. That definitely would not look nice.

12 MarthaB June 5, 2020 at 10:44 AM

Once again the Canada Geese and family have made their home on the grassy spots at the exit ramps from 85 south to route 9. They cross the ramps to get to the water on either side, often times walking directly on route 9 itself. Please be aware of them as you enter and exit the highway. Thanks!

13 arborist June 5, 2020 at 2:25 PM

recently I have observed large trash and dumpster trucks going over the speed limit on many occasions on parkerville south , cordaville and southville roads , What’s their hurry? do they get paid by the load ? It’s always the same co. ZOOM, BP. And ONE-Way, Time for more speed checks on these roads.

14 Matthew June 8, 2020 at 8:14 AM

Don’t forget that they aim for the storm drain to ensure maximum BOOM!

15 ofay! June 8, 2020 at 10:39 AM

What’s up with the recent warning signs posted at Fay School?

Now that the campus is apparently, closed, Townspeople are being advised to keep out. One acquaintance stated they’d been running across the Fay campus for more than 30 years – and weren’t about to stop now. Other people seem to keep walking their dogs across the area.

The signs advise pedestrians to “stick to the Sudbury Reservoir Trail”.

A colleague noted they and their friends have been using Fay as a pedestrian route to get from the Flagg, Deerfoot and Parkerville Rd. areas to the town center for decades. Now this?

Someone mentioned they’d heard of one person who was warned by the police, who had received a complaint from the school about walking their pet across a part of the campus.

With the school closed, it would seem non-student pass through traffic would be even less of an issue than previously – if it ever was an issue. Is the Fay School area considered a high crime locale?

With the private schools ever encroaching property acquisitions decreasing Town tax revenues and the various PILOT payment controversies, the timing of this action seems bizarre.

Not very neighborly!

16 beth June 8, 2020 at 10:48 AM

The commenter previously contacted me about the issue, and I reached out to the school. Their Director of Communications looked into it for me. She clarified that the signs on the Sudbury Reservoir Trail state:

Please stay on the Sudbury Trail. Fay School is closed.

She explained:

The posted signs do not represent a change in policy – they are just reminders for visitors to stay on the Sudbury Reservoir Trail. Fay’s policy is that the campus is not open to the public in order to maintain the safety and security of our school community. In addition, our entire campus is currently closed to all except for essential workers and campus residents as a result of the pandemic.

17 Matthew June 8, 2020 at 2:34 PM

Maybe it’s just another property owner tired of dog crap? They have the manpower to make signs, the ability to contact the police, and the influence with the police to get them to act.

I love dogs but we grew up picking up after them, it was no big deal. This town seems to take pride in walking anywhere and letting their dogs drop everywhere. Let’s not forget the pretty little blue bags left by the side of the road.

18 SB Resident June 17, 2020 at 10:21 PM

I just noticed that it looks like we sold out the flag pole for cell service. This was contraversial last time around, I was surprised to not hear anything about it. I hope we are getting big bucks at least.

19 Frank Crowell June 23, 2020 at 3:30 PM

Thanks to the wonderful officers in their quick work subduing the perpetrator and wishing Sgt. James DuLuca a speedy and complete recovery.

20 beth June 23, 2020 at 4:25 PM

I completely agree.

Thank you for bringing the story to my attention. I hadn’t seen the news yet.

21 Ben June 24, 2020 at 8:50 AM

I view in disgust each time I see the updated rules for the transfer station.
Where it says only two 32 gallon barrels of construction debris. There’s no enforcement of the rules.
Meanwhile ; i see the same trucks there on weekly basis dumping home improvement project after home improvement project. Why should we have to pay for someone’s renovation ? Let them pay for a dumpster like everyone else does.

22 matthew June 24, 2020 at 9:53 AM

Karen Galligan makes the rules from what I understand, please anyone correct me if I am wrong. Her staff do what they can, never blame them for enforcement, it’s a tough enough job without dealing with the obvious illegal dumping let alone those who push the limits.

I have long believed that any commercially plated pickup truck should pay a higher fee. But many people have such a truck and don’t haul construction debris.
Why get a commercial plate on a truck if you don’t need to dump trash? Buying supplies for your business, hauling brush, towing your commercial trailer. There are more reasons why this is OK than not. I have a big wagon and can fit about seven 35 gallon barrels inside but am only allowed to dump two per visit. I can come back as many times as I want.

As you read the rules and observe reality you see there has to be a line somewhere or many more people will dump a lot more illegal stuff. The cameras catch people on a regular basis and they get fined.

Some say curbside pickup is the answer but I appreciate the flexibility of getting rid of trash quickly and occasionally I can dump more than a few barrels or large trash bags without a hassle.

For this convenience we have to deal with folks dumping large amounts of construction debris. Even contractors dumping all their waste from the day as long as it’s barrels or big plastic bags.

If you can think of a better system that doesn’t involve buying cheap yellow trash bags or hiring more staff then you will likely get a lot of support.

23 Richard Stucka June 24, 2020 at 11:54 PM

Transfer station land should be sold to a developer and curbside pickup setup for the town. Change my view.

24 Alan June 24, 2020 at 10:31 AM

I agree with Ben, we need to have better enforcement of the transfer station rules. Every week I see someone throwing something in the hopper that doesn’t belong, large quantity of construction debris being one of them. I have even seen trucks with dump bodies, also not allowed. Lunch time seems to be an especially good time to dump illegal debris while the operator is definitely not around.

Its time for enforcement.

25 Advisory June 25, 2020 at 3:20 PM

I don’t think Advisory has had all of it’s nine seats filled in over two years. Is Mr Cimino actively trying to recruit for this important committee? Arguably, making appointments is the most important responsibility the moderator has.
Additionally, the last Avisory meeting that was televised on SAM was in February of 2019. All of their meetings should be televised and a packet of all materials to be reviewed at meetings should be made public and included online with the agenda, prior to the meeting, as other committees do.
Hopefully this will become the practice as we enter the new cycle.

26 ARHS Mom July 4, 2020 at 1:36 PM

I just noticed English Garden Florist has closed. Does anyone have any info on this?

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